Andrew McMahon is one busy guy. Not content with just finishing up and releasing the new Jack’s Mannequin album, People And Things, and touring Australia for the upcoming Soundwave Festival, he is already working on a new album. “I have been writing like crazy and I sort of love the direction I hear things developing. There is sort of a quality of the music that feels cohesive and this kind of California sound that I have been hammering at for a while but am revealing new angles on and I am really excited about.”

“It feels funny to have just put out a new record and be so sort of moved on to the next thing.”

People And Things is a step away from 2008‘s Glass Passenger, a deeply introspective and sombre album written through McMahon’s battle with leukaemia which was also captured in the documentary Dear Jack. People And Things explores McMahon’s experiences in his first few years as a married man, something which took time to write about. “It was sort of a gradual process, this kind of peeling back the layers of a relationship. It took the better part of about a year to write the record. It was a very free process. I was in the midst of a lot of travelling supporting Jack’s second record and so it was sort of a scattered process. We sort of brought the band together in a house in the desert in California just to learn how to play these songs together and that is how it sort of came to life.”

While his brush with mortality is gradually being put behind him, “I feel after so many years I am finally kind outside of the halo effect of all of that stuff. In the music you can feel it and if you have known me closely or personally over the years you know it is something that I have wrestled with and dealt with.” McMahon is happy to be a source of inspiration to others in a similar position. “I have seen a lot of things that I would not have expected to see as a musician. I have managed to be counsel to a lot of sick people and people in tough spots. There is an element of it that at times you can go “wow, this isn’t what I signed up for” but I think we are the sum of our experiences and when I was in that situation I was looking for touchstones of inspiration. I don’t consider myself a role model or anything like that. I go out to the bars like the next guy and get myself in trouble [laughs] I live my life the way I live my life, I’m not a saint. If the fact that a guy who is not a saint survived inspires somebody and that means something to them then I am honoured to be that for them.”

The prospect of playing Soundwave with a bunch of old buddies has McMahon excited. “[Soundwave] is to some extent almost a vacation. We have old friends on the tour, I’m stoked to see the Saves The Day guys out there and there are certainly a lot of bands that I’m looking forward to checking out. Surprisingly out of all of the bands you would think we would be friends with or be excited to see are the Lamb Of God guys. They are good buddies with a few of the guys in the Jack’s Mannequin camp. I’m really looking forward to seeing those guys.”

Playing a string of sideshows with Dashboard Confessional and Reliant K also has the singer very excited, “It is going to be like a family reunion!” So can we expect some impromptu duets between the bands? “Who knows? Matt [from Reliant K] wrote a few of these tunes with me so we will pull him up to on one of them at some point. Last tour we had all of the members of both bands onstage by the end of the tour so anything is possible!”

After asking for some local knowledge over where to party after their Melbourne shows and searching for a pen to write down the address of one of the city’s finest watering holes, McMahon laughs and says, “We will certainly be looking to get into some trouble so come find us.” Any other plans while in town? “If someone can point me in the direction of an insanely talented tattoo artist you might be surprised. I could go for it. I have little excerpt from Van Gough’s starry night on my left arm which I really dig. For the first time in a long time I am starting to get the tattoo bug so I usually let it sit for minute and see if it sticks with me but I have some ideas brewing for some future artwork.”

When asked whether he has a favourite Something Corporate or Jack’s Mannequin song, he pauses for thought before replying “I feel like ‘Me And The Moon’ is probably my favourite Something Corporate song. My favourite Jack’s Mannequin song…” He pauses again, “…it’s hard because I still feel so close to it. It’s a pretty tough thing. I there will always be a part of my that will think of ‘Holiday From Real’ as kind of the quintessential Jack’s Mannequin staple so that is my favourite.”

After the Soundwave tour and their Australian sideshows, Jack’s Mannequin are looking forward to a well deserved rest. Says the singer, “For me I am about to take more time off then I have since before I started Jack’s. My hope for that is by being available to the piano – by constantly being in a place where I can be sourcing the new music and new thoughts that come into my head – I am hopeful that there is a really exciting next phase.”

Jack’s Mannequin kick off their Soundwave 2012 adventure with the first festival leg this Saturday 25th February, supporting Dashboard Confessional on Sidewaves also featuring Reliant K.